What Drives you to Compete in Billfish Tournaments?

Four billfish tournament-winning team owners chime in.

Q: What drives you to fish competitively?

Fishing competitively
Four pros weigh in on why they fish competitively.Courtesy

Johnny Dorland

Cotton Patch
Orange Beach, Alabama

Fishing Competitively
Johnny DorlandCourtesy Kate Dorland

I fish competitively for the love of the sport. The thrill I get when a marlin eats a bait or lure in the spread is just as strong for me now as it was 10 years ago. It is tremendously gratifying. I like to see billfish get released, but I also enjoy fishing for a big blue marlin in tournaments. You can bet as much in a calcutta as you want to lose. Heck, I’d be a happy camper if we broke even in a tournament season. It’s exciting when you finally do win a big tournament, but most of all, I love to see the people on the docks that enjoy the same passion as I do.

Laura Jessen

Fish Tank
Los Sueños, Costa Rica

Fishing Competitively
Laura JessenCourtesy Laura Jessen

Aside from a Type-A personality that drives me to compete and succeed, I am motivated to fish competitively because of my love for the sport, the ocean and being part of a team. Even though we have only been tournament fishing for a few years on Fish Tank, we have successfully contended among teams who have fished together for much longer. We respect, support and genuinely enjoy spending time together. It’s not just about winning, it’s about camaraderie. What could be more fun than doing what you love with the people you love in a majestic setting?

Peter Adrian

4 Aces
Miami

Fishing Competitively
Peter AdrianCourtesy Endless Imagery

I’ve enjoyed sports — baseball, soccer, football — since I was a teenager, and I’ve been on the water boating and fishing since I was a very young child. So it’s a combination of the two loves: being on the water and being competitive. Sailfishing is the sport we love the most these days, and we want to be competitive at the very highest level. These days, we really do it for my youngest son, Christian. My other two sons love to fish, but they have other priorities right now. Christian is to the point where it’s really fun watching him improve his skills, and he was the top angler in the Sailfish 400 this year. We tournament fish competitively because we love it.

Paul Coury

Anticipation
Centreville, Virginia

Fishing Competitively
Paul CouryCourtesy Paul Coury

I love the open water, the fresh air and the opportunity to fish against other highly competitive anglers, which never gets old. It’s great fishing with our experienced team of anglers, my very knowledgeable captain and our hard-working mates. It builds camaraderie and a bonding experience like none other, and working in unison toward a common goal is a prerequisite. It’s fun to create your own spread that you think will give you the edge you need — sometimes you’re right and sometimes you’re wrong. But most of all, I never get tired of the adrenaline rush I feel when we spot a blue marlin behind the boat. Let’s fish!